Regardless of your estate size, or how young and healthy you are, it’s never too early to begin planning your will. Anything can happen to anyone at any time, and you don’t know when your last day may be near. Take the steps in protecting your heirs, so they receive what you wish upon your death. That’s why it’s important to understand the steps involved in writing a legal will. Read on for further insight on how to do so.
1. Think about Taxes
If you don’t plan carefully, taxes can easily eat away at the assets you leave for your loved ones. When it comes to estate taxes, any amount over $10,860,000 for married couples and $5,430,000 for single individuals, are subject to taxation that your heirs will have to pay. However, with the help of an estate planner, you can put assets into a trust. There are three types of trusts to consider that allow your heirs to avoid probate.
2. Make a Decision about Your Home
Assets such as real estate may be the biggest item to consider when creating a will or a trust. According to Comfy Living, more than 50% of homes in the US were built before 1980. Whether it’s an older or a newer home, you want to ensure that it goes into the hands of the right beneficiary. You should specify in your will or trust who will inherit control of the home after your death. If you divide it amongst more than one person, such as several children, specify the percentage each person will get in the event of a sale.
3. Specify Health Wishes
What if your health declines long before you die? You may be in a situation in which you may become incapacitated by a coma, a debilitating injury, dementia, or something else, and you won’t be able to make final decisions for yourself. You can give orders not to resuscitate if you go into cardiac arrest or into a coma. That’s why it’s important to name someone you trust as the power of attorney. The power of attorney is someone who can make or carry out your specified medical or financial decisions for you when you’re unable to do so.
4. Make Note of Valuables
When you look at your assets, does it include Swiss watches or an expensive art collection? Do you have vintage clothing and furs dating back to the 1950s? Do you own the first edition of some rare books? According to IBISWorld, the online antique sales and collectibles market grew 13.1% annually between 2018 and 2023. Whatever valuables you have, name people in your will or trust that will handle them upon your death. Decide if you grant permission to sell them or prefer the family to hold on to them as heirlooms. If you have valuables such as art, it’s a good idea to hire a professional appraiser to assess their value and note it in your will.
If you worked hard your whole life, you want to ensure that everything you’ve worked for such as your home, your money, your investments, and priceless art, all go to the people you love. It would be tragic if everything got caught up in probate or held in the state for years because you didn’t specify a division of assets. Don’t put your loved ones through that unnecessary stress and waiting period. Take the time to create a legal will or trust, so you’ll have peace that your loved ones are well cared for upon your death. If you have any questions about estate planning, contact an attorney near you.